Vietnam shares experiences in economic development

Vietnam is willing to share experiences with leading domestic and foreign scholars to overcome weaknesses in its current economic development model and seize opportunities in the post-crisis period, says a senior Vietnamese diplomat.

Deputy Foreign Minister Doan Xuan Hung made the statement at a high-level roundtable entitled “Economic Development and Growth Theories” in Hanoi on August 17, which brought together domestic and foreign policymakers. It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Professor James Riedel from Johns Hopkins University of the US.

Mr Hung noted that the global financial crisis has taken its toll on all economies and created weaknesses in the financial system, requiring East Asia and Southeast Asia to formulate theories on development.

He said the meeting created a good chance for professors and policymakers to share their views and make recommendations, helping the Vietnamese government draw up appropriate development strategies.

In their presentations, the two professors looked at a number of priorities and concerns for Vietnam’s socio-economic development. They placed strong emphasis on how to implement national strategies without affecting the balance of its financial structure.

Professor Jomo said that despite its negative impact, the global financial crisis has opened up opportunities for Vietnam to reform its finance to support social equality and develop the economy.

He put forward recommendations concerning policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), liberalise local finance, restructure State-owned enterprises and carry out economic stimulus packages by pooling local financial resources, building and improving infrastructure and increasing services and social welfare.

He said FDI could help Vietnam meet its development goals, but FDI itself would not be the gold key to development. The crux of the matter is how to use FDI, said the professor.

As the crisis has affected export-driven economies, he suggested that the governments of Southeast Asian economies, including Vietnam, introduce conditional and effective protection policies to businesses, helping them enjoy export subsidy.

Regarding national development strategies, he also said that Vietnam should continue to promote transparency in its policies and adopt new approaches to self-reliance in a more practical manner.

Professor Jomo, who studied the financial crisis in Southeast Asia in 1997-1998, will attend a roundtable with Vietnamese policymakers on August 13 where he is to share views about building a national development strategy and examine key issues in Vietnam’s socio-economic development strategy in the next 10 years.